The Reynolds Wrestling Legacy is an ever-growing accumulation of traditions.
We will continue with covering wrestlers of the 70's in a few days. But first, we want to backtrack here to present a few factoids about Reynolds Wrestling that many fans and alumni take for granted. Some things are fun, some serious and while many are rooted to our origin years, others are more recent. This goes along with the 70's theme of the BBQ Picnic since a couple of these traditions started in the 1969-70 school year.
At the picnic, we will ask wrestlers & fans to share any of their memories of traditions, idiosyncrasies and interesting anecdotes (I'm looking at you, Bob Shaffer!). Several fun tales were presented in last year by the wrestlers from the 60's! (get your tickets here)
We will have a few tables setup with various memorabilia (see the center picture in the montage) such as trophies, state medals, old warmups, shoes from the state champs and various scrapbooks donated to the Club by alumni. It has become a very popular feature for picnic attendees.
You may see references to these practices and features of the wrestling program in these pages or hear about them in conversation. For you newbies that are not fully aware of these stories, I attempt to clarify some terms and acronyms to help you better understand the lingo. You might learn more about the program's customs, but mostly, I hope you are reminded of some great memories.
I KNOW THIS IS NOT COMPLETE - if you remember things that should be added to this collection of traditions, please leave a comment in this blog -- a comment in Facebook goes into a black hole over time and isn't useful as historical reference. I can work on including the comment items into this blog and we can use it as a repository of all the major and obscure historical features of the Reynolds Legacy.
Here are some new & old traditions: (l) the new CRTC facility; (c) Medals, state champ shoes, posters, team sticks displayed at previous picnics; (r) BAGUBA winners
Here is the initial list of Reynolds Traditions.
Winning Tradition - It all starts here
I won’t say much more than an all-time record of 921-108-2 and NEVER having a losing season in the 60+ years of Reynolds Wrestling! This includes 23 undefeated teams.
Add to that the 10 State Championship Titles (bracketed tournament) and 8 State Dual Championship Titles. Also, tons of individual state, regional, district and section champs and place winners. And all this was under the guidance of state and nationally recognized coaches.
We could write a book on this topic alone and it is one thing most anyone on this site already understands. The legacy starts with the program’s success.
The teams of original program in the 60's would practice in the cafeteria. Each day, after school, the team & managers would clear out the tables and chairs, and then roll out and clean the mats. After practice, they would reverse the process to restore the cafeteria setup.
Starting in the mid-60's (and still true to this day), the new auxiliary gym was available. It was the secondary cafeteria with fold up tables and benches coming from the wall which the custodial staff would pull out for lunch every day for 7th & 8th graders and then refold them afterwards. Before and after lunch, it was used as another space for gym classes (I am not certain, but I don't think the school requires this space for lunch anymore).
But just like before this small gym was built, the wrestlers/managers still have to roll out and clean mats every day and roll them back after practices. Just about every other team in the state -at least in places with high caliber teams- has a dedicated wrestling practice room. The Reynolds wrestlers and staff look at this setup/teardown activity as a matter of pride and is an example of the extra sacrifice our team makes, more than other schools, just to practice.
Starting in 2021, a new building, named the Camp Reynolds Training Center, was constructed as an alternative wrestling practice area on Arlington Drive in Reynolds about a half mile from the high school. This is a privately owned facility and is not part of the Reynolds School system. It has become the hub for off season training of club wrestling activities and will be an important part of the overall strategy to keep Reynolds Wrestling at the top of its game.
Team Stick/Spirit Stick
When the team runs out on the mat before a match, you will see a team captain carrying a stick painted with blue and (hopefully no) red stripes. The remainder is unpainted during the season. Simply, for each dual match won, a one-inch blue stripe is painted around the stick. A loss results in a red stripe.
The stick is passed from wrestler to wrestler during the course of a match so each person has a chance to hold it - and believe that it is hard to not think about it when you hold it in your hands. It is a constant reminder that wrestling is a TEAM sport at Reynolds.
Of course the goal is to complete the season with all blue but the unsaid lesson is that we live to learn with our successes and failures. When red stripes are added, the wrestlers continue to carry the stick with pride because Reynolds won't hide from losses, they get more motivated.
This was a motivational tool introduced by Coach Lineman in the 1969-70 season. It was a concept that we bought into - completely. And from my observations, the team still believes in the pride of trying to have a totally blue stick at the end of the year.
Other teams and unknowing fans made (and still do make) fun of it, and surprisingly from the beginning of this tradition to even now, the wrestlers don't get confrontational in defending this practice. They just soldier-on in the pride of knowing the special meaning of the team stick.
Quickly now, what does that funny sounding acronym mean? If you are on the team for more than a few weeks, you better know the answer or suffer the penalty of some physical activity! Here is your answer…
Brutally Aggressive Guy Uninhibited By Adversity
Like the Team Stick, this is another motivational device started by Coach Lineman for the 1969-70 season. It is awarded after every match to a wrestler showing extra effort and fortitude. The team votes on the person; the coaches do not pick the winners.
Many times, the wrestler winning the award may have lost the match as this is ALL about effort, not winning. As in the beginning, it is still a true honor to win this award (unfortunately, I never earned one).
At first this was only a Varsity and JV award but the Junior High and Elementary coaches have implemented this award in those programs, too.
Several references are made about varsity eliminations in other articles. Long time Raider fans (and followers of many other wrestling programs) know that one very common method to determine positions on varsity teams is to conduct an internal tournament several times during the season in practice. Simply, the wrestler winning that tournament is the top person to wrestle in varsity matches.
In today's world with lineup juggling for favorable matchups and team tournament consequences, an elimination winner doesn't mean exactly the same (until individual tournament time) but it still provides an internal "pecking order" for coaches to use when making judgement calls for matchups and to gage wrestlers' improvements.
In the "old" days, it was very rare for a coach to override the results of an elimination because the wrestling community just assumed that a wrestler earns their starting spot unlike team sports where a coach can chose their starters, regardless of ability. I remember just one instance when Coach Lineman made a lineup shift change due to a late need (it was either an injury or sickness of one of the varsity wrestlers on the day of the 1970 Greenville match). Even then, he called a team meeting to get everyone's thoughts before proceeding.
This process was a REALLY big deal in our program and the community. Here are some anecdotes about eliminations:
During the 70's, eliminations were held on scheduled days at the beginning of practice right after school, starting around 3:15 pm. Student friends, many parents and shift workers from local factories came directly to the small gym to watch the eliminations. At that time, there was about a 5-foot gap between the wall and the mats and that space was packed.
The high school principal, Ray Bost, tried to watch all the eliminations (he would sit in the cafeteria return-tray-window). Once, he had a school related meeting that would keep him in his office until after 3:30-3:45. Mr. Bost instructed Coach Lineman to kill time before starting just so that he wouldn’t miss the matches, so Coach dutifully held a "team meeting" to delay the starting time to accommodate the request. The team was completely unaware of this occurance at the time; I learned of this episode only in the past few years when Coach shared the story.
Assistant Coach Jim Tokar once confessed to me that refereeing those matches in that environment was very stressful. The fear of blowing a call was always in his thoughts. Having the concern of affecting a wrestler's opportunity to make varsity as well as the entire community watching the event was a heavy burden.
I suppose this is not so much of a tradition except that one should understand that many schools have not kept the level of detail that Reynolds has saved about their wrestling history. Coach Lineman prided himself in keeping a large amount of detail of individual reords. He knew that this information was an important motivator to the wrestlers. After all, who didn't want the best record or the most pins? It is a big honor to receive the associated trophies at the end of year banquet.
Remember, it was all by hand in the old days. Electronic spreadsheets became popular only in the last 20-25 years. A coach would have to rewrite the stats report by hand after every match - as a college coach in the late 70's to mid 80's, I can assure you that this is not a fun task! Today, services such as PA-Wrestling.com have been a big help to consolidate this information but someone in the program still has to enter that information.
Brian Hills recalled when he became a head coach, Coach Lineman advised him to be meticulous about wrestlers records - stressing the importance of the stats as a motivator. I haven't (but will) asked the other head coaches in our history if they received the same advice or if they did it naturally. But whether or not they had a similar conversation, they all seemed to have done a remarkable effort to keep complete record of statistics.
Art Williams has been a key person in consolidating records across the entire history of the program. On the ReynoldsWrestling.com website, you will see a lot of that data. Much of the statistics and team records on this site (found in the Legacy menu option) originally came from Art. I know others, such as Don Shaffer, have given Art assistance over time, as well. Patrick Collins has provided a lot of assistance to this website with keeping team statistics updated.
As a related aside to this topic: if you see team or individual stats that are incorrect on this site or Art's, please let me or Art know. We continually try to improve the quality of the data.
Managers & Mat Maids
This is another item that is not so much of a tradition but it is a very positive feature.
As a former coach, I can assure you that good student assistants, whether you call them managers or Mat Maids, are most important to facilitating the smooth operation of the program. Reynolds has been blessed with a series of extremely qualified and hard working crew of student assistants. Originally, the program used boys as managers as was how life was in pre mid-70's. Sometime in the 70's, Reynolds went from a hybrid of boy Managers and girl Mat Maids to finally just the current Mat Maid structure.
In the little research I have done on this, I found the first reference to Mat Maids in the 1974 Crest yearbook. I will ask former coaches, wrestlers, managers and Mat Maids about this to expand the history of the topic.
Yet another feature/tradition of the program. Not many schools have cheerleaders participate at wrestling matches. When they do, it is mainly for just their home events.
But you see our Cheerleaders at home and away, even for the State Dual matches (I can't recall seeing cheerleaders from other schools at Hershey). This requires a lot of dedication and time on their part. Their efforts are not saved just for the matches, you see they work hard in preparing their routines, making signs and doing the extras to promote schools spirit. In short, you see they rightfully take great pride in their efforts and contributions.
One example of the extras they do; I remember going home after practice on the nights before the Greenville match to find my bedroom decorated with pep posters and such -- the squad made the rounds to all the starters' homes while we were practicing. I understand that similar actions continue to this day.
Reynolds Wrestling is blessed to have a group like the Cheerleaders to provide their support.
Coach Lineman would save the shoes worn by state champions for his own personal collection and other coaches followed this lead. This may seem a bit quirky but these are very popular historical artifacts when they are displayed publicly -- ask Jim Gollner about they shoes he wore when winning states or make fun of the size of my shoes (everyone does). You can see the collection at our picnic along with many other memorabilia items.
For the size of our Reynolds School District and local community, we have an unrivaled level of support compared to programs across the state. First, we must recognize the loyal fans that follow matches wherever the team travels. It is always fun to compete in front of a full crowd. This is the heart beat of the support.
Then we have several types of booster/financial support teams. I have heard many people from other schools speak in awe and envy about the various groups and people that provide service to the wrestling program. All of this comes with a love of the program that inspires people to donate countless hours to promoting the team.
I plan to publish an article later describing more detail of these groups as they and the people involved with them deserve special attention. But in short, some of the support organizations include:
Reynolds Wrestling News Facebook page (and the former Reynolds Wrestling Mag)
Reynolds Wrestling Legacy Club (and this website)
As requested above, please add your contributions to Reynolds Wrestling Traditions in comments on this blog. The program is always evolving so these don't have to be things that started before most of our readers were born, they can be new traditions that contribute to today's success or even short lived features that were important (or just interesting) to a specific era of the program's history (e.g. During the Lineman era ... 1. Doing a forward roll as the team runs onto the mat for warmups. 2. We always had honey packets and orange slices in the locker room before a match).